56 Tamil Tigers, 10 soldiers killed in Sri Lanka (Second Lead)

December 22nd, 2008 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Dec 22 (IANS) At least 56 rebels and 10 government soldiers were killed after troops operating on the outskirts of Tamil Tiger guerrillas’ Kilinochchi stronghold launched a “massive offensive” Monday, military authorities said.The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said that troops of “Task force I and 57 Division successfully captured an area of two kilometers of the Kilinochchi bund” during the fierce onslaught against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“Troops launched massive offensives from Iranaimadu, Adampan and west of Paranthan during the day. Fifty-six LTTE terrorists were killed while 87 were wounded in the confrontations. Ten soldiers laid their lives while 40 others were wounded in the action,” the MCNS said.

Sri Lanka stepped up air raids targeting suspected Tamil Tiger positions following fierce weekend clashes that left scores of combatants killed on both sides in the embattled north.

The defence ministry said the air force carried out “successive sorties” since 6.30 a.m. on targets in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, the last of the territories held by the LTTE.

“Two air raids were made at identified LTTE resistance positions, north and east of the Iaranaimadu battlefront,” the ministry said.

It said an LTTE craft in north of the Mullaitivu lagoon was confirmed to have been destroyed in a separate air attack Monday morning.

The Sri Lanka government is determined to capture the rebel-held districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi and the troops advancing in several directions were said to be operating on the outskirts of Kilinochchi town, 350 km north of here.

There was no immediate word from the LTTE regarding Monday’s fighting. The LTTE has been fighting against the Sri Lankan state to carve out a separate state for Tamils in the northern and eastern parts of the island for a quarter century now.

Thousands have died in escalating fighting since late 2005.

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